Soup War Continues, Progresso Strikes Back

The soup war heated up late last month when Campbell placed an ad in The New York Times claiming that its rival General Mills’ Progresso soups are made with MSG. But General Mills isn’t going down without a fight. Today it returned a punch by running an ad that makes a similar claim against Campbell.

The full-page ad for Progresso, also in The New York Times, refutes Campbell’s assertion that its soups are made with TLC or “tender love and care” and all-natural ingredients, while Progresso’s are made with MSG, a food ingredient known as monosodium glutamate. The ad reads in large red letters: “Campbell’s has 95 soups made with MSG.”

The ad follows Progresso’s announcement today that it has removed the food additive from 26 of its soups. General Mills had originally planned on disclosing the strategy after the remaining 50 soups were reformulated to exclude MSG, but Campbell’s ran the ad.

“Campbell fired the first shot and Progresso has responded with missiles,” said Julia Beardwood, a principal at brand consultancy Beardwood & Co., New York.

To back up its claim, the Progresso ad shows what looks to be close to 95 soup cans